Experimental studies of exotic transitions in high-Z few-electron ions

  • A novel experimental approach for studying exotic transitions in few-electron high-Z ions was developed. In this approach, few-electron ions with selectively produced single K-shell holes are used for the investigation of the transition modes that follow the decay of the excited ions. The feasibility of the developed approach was confirmed by an experimental study of the production of low-lying excited states in He-like uranium, produced by K-shell ionization of initially Li-like species. It was found that K-shell ionization is a very selective process that leads to the production of only two excited states, namely the 1s2s 21S0 and 1s2s 23S1. This high level of selectivity stays undisturbed by the rearrangement processes. These experimental findings can be explained using perturbation theory and an independent-particle model, and are a result of the very different impact parameter dependencies of K-shell ionization and L- intrashell excitation. The L-shell electron can be assumed to stay passive in the collision, whereas the K-shell electron is ionized. It was stressed that the current result might directly be applied to accurate studies of the two-photon decay in He-like ions. Up to now, the experimental challenge in conventional 2E1 experiments has been the photon-photon coincidence technique, which is required to separate the true 2E1 events from the x-ray background associated with single photon transitions. In contrast, by exploiting K-shell ionization, the spectral distribution of the two-photon decay could be obtained simply by a measurement of the photon emission, using only a single x-ray detector in coincidence with projectile ionization. One further particular advantage arises from the fact that the 1s2p 3P0 state is not populated, and does not contribute to the continuum distribution of the two-photon emission. At high Z, this state also undergoes a two-photon E1M1 decay, which would be indistinguishable from the 2E1 decay of the 1s2s 1S0. The first measurement of the two-photon energy distribution from the decay of 1s2s 1S0 level in He-like tin was performed by adopting the technique developed in this thesis. In this technique, excited He-like heavy ions were formed by K-shell ionization of initially Li-like species in collisions with a low-Z gas target, and x-ray spectra following the decay of the He-like ions were measured in coincidence with the up-charged tin ions. The observed intense production of the 2E1 transitions, and a very high level of selectivity, make this process particularly suited for the study of the two-photon continuum, and thus for a detailed investigation of the structure of high-Z He-like systems. The method allowed for a background-free measurement of the distribution of the two-photon decay (21S0 -> 11S0) in He-like tin. The measured distribution could also be discriminated from that of other He-like ions, and confirmed, for the first time, the fully relativistic calculations. In addition, the feasibility of the method was confirmed by studying another exotic transition, namely the two-electron one-photon transition (TEOP) in Li-like high-Z ions. An experimental investigation of the radiative decay modes of the 1s2s2 state in Li-like heavy ions has been started. In the first dedicated beam time at the ESR, selective population of this state via K-shell ionization of initially Be-like species was achieved. The x-rays produced in this process were measured by a multitude of x-ray detectors, each placed under different observation angles with respect to the ion beam direction. The spectra associated with projectile electron loss consist (in all cases) of one single x-ray transition, which was attributed to the TEOP decay to the 1s2 2p1/2 level, possibly contaminated by the M1 decay to the 1s22s. Thus it was proven that, by adopting the developed approach, one can indeed produce the desired initial state. This makes this method perfectly suited for studies of TEOP transitions in high-Z systems. An extension of this study, by the inclusion of an electron spectrometer, would also allow for measurements of the autoionization channel, which would provide complete information on the various decay modes of the 1s2s2 state.

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Author:Sergiy TrotsenkoGND
Referee:Thomas StöhlkerORCiDGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2009/10/23
Year of first Publication:2008
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2009/06/24
Release Date:2009/10/23
Institutes:Physik / Physik
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 53 Physik / 530 Physik
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht